YORK, Pa. — Millions of Americans live with Alzheimer's Disease or other dementias, but research shows it doesn't affect all of us the same.
Hispanics and Latinos are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's as compared to white Americans. As part of September being Hispanic Heritage Month, FOX43 is shining a light on the disparity and what the future looks like for the disease.
"Up until just the past few years, 95% of those enrolled in clinical trials were white Caucasians," Clay Jacobs with the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Pa. Chapter said. "While we know it to be the case, the work to really point to the why is just underway now.
There are some things they do know, though, like the cultural difference between the two ethnicities.
"In the Hispanic population generally, 60% believe that significant cognitive changes are just part of the regular aging process and so they are also less likely to reach out to their physician," Jacobs explained. Which is why, he says, education and reducing stigma is so important.
Knowing this, the AHEAD study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is hoping to change that. Researchers are currently collecting more inclusive research from their 100 study locations throughout the country. Researchers are looking into how they can get to a more personalized solution sooner, so people do not develop the most severe symptoms of the disease.
Jacobs also said he hopes World Alzheimer's Day on Sept. 21 will help to spread awareness and alert everyone to the work being done to fight the disease.
"We are learning more in the past five years than we have in decades," he said. "We're at a point now where we're talking about detecting the disease before we see symptoms." Symptoms that change lives forever, he says.
"This is a disease impacting millions of people and there are things happening to try and make a difference...you can't underestimate the impact it (Alzheimer's) has on families who are dealing with this all day, every day," he said.
If you're interested in learning more about the AHEAD study, click here.